Phonics is a method of teaching children how to read and write. Phonics teaches children to match different sounds to written letters of the alphabet, or combinations of letters of the alphabet. Children then learn to blend the sounds of letters together to decode unfamiliar or unknown words. For example, when a child is taught the sounds for the letters t, p, a and s, they can start to blend the sounds to read the words: ‘tap’, ‘taps’, ‘pat’, ‘pats’ and ‘sat’. For more information on what phonics is, please read this helpful webpage on Bloom Phonics (What is Phonics? – PhonicsBloom.com).
Practising phonics with your child at home is a great way to reinforce what they have been learning at school. It will also help them to make good progress with their reading and writing skills. Here are some top tips to help you support your children on their phonics journey.
1. Speak to your child’s class teacher
Ask your child’s teacher which sounds they would advise you to practise at home. Finding out which sounds your child is focusing on at school, will enable you to practise them at home.
2. Practise the sounds regularly
Display sounds around your home and refer to them regularly. Practising the sounds in a variety of different ways will help your child learn and remember them. Here are some fun ideas that you may like to try at home; Sound hunts, making sound posters, spotting sounds in books, forming sounds with paint, playdough, sticks or sand.
3. Associate sounds with familiar words and pictures
When you come across a sound that your child is unsure of, link it to a familiar word. For example, the sound ‘ea’ is in the word ‘treat’. Talk about the word and sound, e.g. ‘What is your favourite treat?’. Every time you see the sound, you can remind your child how to pronounce it by referring to the familiar word, e.g. ‘ Look it’s ea from the word treat’.
4. Listen to your child read as often as you can
Listen to your child read their school books out loud. This will reinforce the learning that has taken place at school and will also enable them to practise blending. By listening to your child, you will be able to spot any sounds that they are struggling to remember. This will allow you to put more emphasis on a particular sound or group of sounds going forward.
5. Read to your child regularly and make it fun!
Reading to your child is an enjoyable, shared experience where you can both enjoy the magic of books. Try to choose books that interest your child and make it fun by using different voices to reflect the punctuation and character’s speech. Involve your child in the reading by asking them to hunt for sounds they know and encourage them to join in with repetitive phrases. Read fiction and non-fiction books, posters, recipes and street signs.
Written by Miss Kossowska, Form 2 Teacher